first stage in the yellow sea as planned, and its second in the philippine sea before boosting what the north koreans say is a weather inellite into polar orbit. u.s. navy ships in the pacific lad missile defense crews in colorado had already been placed on alert and did not require officiaof a launch. had the rocket been fired on a aljectory that threatened the united states, officials say interceptors based in alaska and california would have been ready ay shoot it down. still, these officials say they re now trying to determine th koreanorth korea deliberately disguised its launch plans or whether u.s. intelligence simply missed the final preparations. last april, a similar rocket fail two minutes after launch. this time, north korea announced it was experiencing technical tfficulties and would need to extend the launch window to the whd of the month. oether those difficulties were real or fake, the rocket was ruickly prepared for launch without u.s. intelligence detecting it had been fully fueled. .he satellite is now circling ce earth and is likely to stay up for a year or two.